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‘Option’ crowns successful week for McGuinness


Current Option ridden by Cian MacRedmond (right) wins the Irish Stallion Farms EBF 'Ahonoora' Handicap. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Current Option ridden by Cian MacRedmond (right) wins the Irish Stallion Farms EBF 'Ahonoora' Handicap. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Current Option ridden by Cian MacRedmond (right) wins the Irish Stallion Farms EBF 'Ahonoora' Handicap. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Gutsy Current Option claimed back-to-back EBF “Ahonoora” Handicaps at Galway to crown a fine week for trainer Ado McGuinness.

The five-year-old was a narrow winner of the €100,000 contest 12 months ago, before going on to win at Listed and Group Three level. He finished seventh behind stablemate Sirjack Thomas in Tuesday’s BMW Mile, and the pair renewed rivalry in the Festival’s final-day feature.

There was drama from the start, with Archie Watson’s English raider Stone Soldier unshipping Oisín Orr after the stalls opened. The loose horse threatened to cause trouble on the home turn, impeding Current Option (5/1) just as he was challenging another stablemate Spanish Tenor for the lead.

However, 7lb claimer Cian MacRedmond managed to get his mount on an even keel and picked up well to score by half a length from the fast-finishing On A Session. Spanish Tenor was third, with Sirjack Thomas fourth, to round off an excellent result for McGuinness.

“He ran well the other night when Cian got blocked in,” said the trainer. “I love when you drop these Group horses back into handicaps like that. He’s proved that he’s a very good horse. We had four in the first six, and I can’t believe it.”

Current Option looks set to make a swift return to action too by going for a Listed race at Cork next week.

The front-running Church Mountain (12/1) provided trainer Denis Hogan with his third winner of the week, digging deep for Joey Sheridan to land the Kenny Galway Volvo Handicap by half a length from Ten Ten Twenty.

“That was great, and Joey executed it well,” said Hogan. “We always liked this horse, from the time he ran as a two-year-old, but he’s a massive big lad and he’s still not the finished article. We’ve schooled him over hurdles, but we probably won’t go that route this year. We’ll let him mature first.”

Dermot Weld and Colin Keane combined to claim the Lord Hemphill Memorial Irish EBF Median Auction Maiden with 15/2 shot Malayan.

The Lady O’Reilly-owned filly was a never-nearer sixth on her racecourse debut at Fairyhouse but showed improvement as she charged home to prevail by three-parts of a length from Pride Of Derry.

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“The step up in trip helped, and she obviously came on for her first run,” said Keane. “She’s still a filly that rides plenty green. So you’d imagine she will improve a good bit yet, and in time I’d imagine she will get an extra furlong if needs be..”

Keane doubled up aboard the Willie Mullins-trained Micro Manage in the JPK Fencing Systems Race over a mile and six furlongs. The 8/11 favourite wore down the front-running Monas Melody before pulling three-and-three-quarter lengths clear to give Mullins his 10th winner of the week.

Tom Gibney’s Imposing Supreme notched his second win of the week in the Ardilaun Hotel Handicap.

Victorious over an extended mile on Tuesday, the mount of Christ Hayes was installed 2/1 market leader – dropping down to seven furlongs. The grey knuckled down well once meeting the rising ground to beat Fridtjof Nansen by half a length.

For the week that was in it, Insane Bolt (8/1) was an appropriately named winner of the first division of the Fr Breen Memorial Handicap for Peter Fahey and apprentice Mikey Sheehy, while the second division went to the Ray Cody-trained Bell Ex One (9/1) in the hands of Ben Coen.

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